Releasing on the 14th of February - join Avery and Christopher for some fun!
Twenty-two-year-old Avery Stewart has a crush on his neighbour. Always attracted to older men, Avery is tantalised by Mr Redding's professorial looks and obvious obsession with perfection.
When he finally gets the courage to speak to Christopher Redding, Avery manages to get invited back that evening on the pretext of bringing a cake for Christopher's birthday. But things don't work out how Avery had planned, and he finds himself sent home with the cake and without any intimacy.
Christopher is everything Avery has ever desired—older, self-assured, dominant, and intelligent. Avery needs someone in his life to take charge—in and out of the bedroom. He wants Christopher to be that man. However, Avery must first convince Christopher to take a chance on him.
Buy links coming soon.
Safe in His Heart will be released on the 2nd of May, 2016. In an attempt to get to know Paul and Andrew, I thought that they could take the 30-Day Writing Challenge. Let’s see their answers. I will be posting their responses on the blog daily, so scroll back if you missed some.
1. Five problems with social media
Paul: There’s a problem with social media? Where? I think social media is a wonderful tool for some people. I’m a nurse, and I see a lot of people in hospital who are isolated from their loved ones and they just want to keep in touch. Facebook, Twitter – all of that helps them. They’re not in a hospital bed if they’re on social media. But the one problem I do see with it is when people bring it to the gym. There are so many guys I see who aren’t working out to their potential because they’re too busy on their bloody phones tweeting that they’re working out. Then they have to share the pictures of their bodies to prove their prowess. Yeah. Whatever.
Andrew: Define social media? Look, I understand that it’s out there, but I never really use it. My wife, Kristy is on it, and it seems to work for her. My PA says that it’s a good tool as well. I’ll just let them answer the question for you, shall I?
Paul: That’s a cop out. You can’t ask Erica to do this interview for you. There are somethings you need to just do yourself. You seriously never used it at all? What about Grindr?
Andrew: Do you mean Grinder?
Paul: I guess that answers that question. Okay.
(See below for questions coming...)
The following blog is on my thoughts about word counts for authors. It’s aimed at sharing my opinions with other writers. If you’re a reader, you may find it interesting, so you’re welcome to read on. If you’re an author, I’m sharing my point of view, and you may take from it what you like.
I, by no means, consider myself an experienced author. I’m on the cusp of learning the trade, and I look around to my more experienced colleagues to see what they do, but ultimately writing is a very personal choice. When you do it, how you do it, how much of it you do it… It’s like one of those sex quizzes where we all want to peep into someone else’s bedroom and compare our own experiences. But at the end of the day, whether you’re doing it doggie style or missionary, it’s what’s working for you that’s important. As long as you’re doing it.
I am writing. Not every day. But most days. And the following is how I approach my writing, which is not how everyone does it, but for those who are similar to me, I hope to reassure you that you’re not “doing it wrong.”
However, I’m also in a situation that my fellow authors may not be in, so take this into account when you think of your own writing career. And it all comes down to a dirty word in the trade: income. Shh! We don’t talk about that. Rest assured, I’m not going to mention levels, just an example that you can adapt to your own situation.
My personal situation is that I don’t have to earn money from my writing. My husband supports the family with his employment, and if I spent 12 months not earning a cent from my writing, we would need to tighten our belts, but it would be okay. However, if I’m not earning any money at all, then I wouldn’t be writing – it’s as simple as that. If I couldn’t earn a certain level of income, then the writing tap would be turned off, and I’d be out of the house with my CV, looking for a job. Because in my family, although I don’t need to earn money, we like our nice things like steak, internet connection and once a year heading “douth” for the holidays. (West Australian translation: douth = down south. No need to put those extra syllables in.) My writerly income provides us with our money to relax about our budget.
Any author will know that writing is not a steady income. It fluctuates wildly depending on whether you’ve recently released a book, and 95% of the effort and cost of releasing a book comes before that time. If I didn’t earn a cent for 12 months we’d be okay… as long as I knew that my effort was going to be rewarded one day in the countable future.
My last book release was August 2015. Ouch. That’s a long time ago in a reader’s mind. It will soon be eight months. My next release is May and so it will be a gap of nine months between releases. But what have I been doing in that time? Well, actually, I’ve written three full novels and added to many other projects. I expect the next nine months of my writing career to be very busy with these releases. From a financial point of view, my income will dip for a while, and then rise again. I know that. I’m prepared for that. Financially I’ve saved my income from the months where I’m flush in preparation for the months that will be down.
So what does this have to do with word counts?
I treat my word counts like I treat my income – I keep my eye on the bigger picture, rather than the microscopic one.
Most career authors I’ve spoken to keep a track of their word counts. I do too, to give myself goals and to prove to myself I’m doing something worthwhile. My word counts vary from day-to-day depending on the other things happening in my life and editing, so I always average my word count over a month. I estimate each book requires the same amount of time on the first draft as it does on the editing and tidying up, so my monthly word count goal will also take into account those days where no new writing occurs.
I then compare my monthly word count to the supposed income I can get from a book. I have a look at my published work, and I then evaluate it to estimate the projected income using an average across my published works. This is a very, very rough idea, but it’s relevant. Stick with me.
Let’s just say I think that a 60,000 word novel of mine will earn me an income of $6,000 over the first two years of its life. (I picked that figure so the maths is easy – you need to pick you own figure based on length and sales of your books). Therefore, I could possibly say that every 1,000 words in the book is equivalent to $100. (See – easy maths, this is why I picked the figure.) So where does this get you? It gets you to the point, that if your monthly word count is 30,000 words, you could say that you’ve written $3,000 worth of books.
So what is the point of this blog? The point I wish to make has to do with working across multiple projects. Every writer is different, but for me, I have in excess of 20 manuscripts in varying degrees of completeness. It may seem a waste, but it’s how my mind works. It’s true that I would earn an income from those words faster if I complete them one at a time, rather than have five on the go, but you can’t force an artist to creativity. For me, I often reach a point in a story and get stuck, so simply switch to writing a new manuscript until my creativity centre works out a solution to my stuck story.
At the end of the day, I am progressing all of these projects and working toward the finished product that will give me my $6,000. And because I don’t rely on the income to pay every bill, I have the ability to delay that income for a while, but still know it is coming. If I was a writer who could work steadily on a single project, I could write and release (for example) a book every three months – four per year. But for a writer who can’t focus on a single project at a time, writing four books at the same time, finishing them as the creative juices allow, then releasing them August, September, November and December in a 12 month period, will end up with approximately the same income.
Of course, this only works if you CAN finish the manuscript. Remember that a crappy first draft can be edited and improved to the point where it can be published. An unfinished story is nothing.
So my opinion on word counts has to do with writing relevant words. As long as you’re progressing a project forward that you will finish one day, then it’s not a waste if you put those words down.
We’re at the end of March now, and this month I’ve worked across three projects. In the first half of the month I picked up a project that had 27,000 words on the count, and progressed it by another 25,000 words. I’m looking at an end count of hopefully around 65k-70k words, so I’m 75% done with this book. Then I got stuck. I’m not sure if my character is acting true to their personality and so I stopped writing and for two days I worked on a novella that now has a word count of 11,000. Then I hit a wall with that one – and I’m waiting for someone to get back to me on some research, so picked up another project and I’ve now added 6000 words to that one and I’m going strong. My kids have been off school for 5 days for the Easter break, so I haven’t been able to write a lot, but I have a huge rush of energy behind me on this third project, and I can already see the next three chapters in my mind. If I’m lucky, I’ll end up with 40,000 words for my monthly word count.
That’s two-thirds of a novel, but not all on a single novel.
So, for all the authors out there who also work on multiple projects at the same time, I’m firmly in your camp. Here’s hoping you get those word counts on your projects and get them finished soon. Don’t stress that you didn’t finish that novel this month. Look at the bigger picture. As long as your word count is progressing those projects, and you know that you will finish, then go with your creativity. Think of it as value adding. You’ve added value to your projects this month. Use your calculator and prove it to yourself with my example above.
Name of book: Hard Feelings, short story published as part of Queermance II Anthology
Date Published: 17 April 2015
Available in: ebook
Other forms coming: expanded ebook
When did you start writing this book? February 2015
What gave you the inspiration for the story? A call for submission to an Australian anthology.
Many people will wonder about this book – What? There is another Renae Kaye book?
This is a short story that is published in the Queermance II Anthology. The anthology aims to publish short stories about Australian LGBT life. I decided to attend the Queermance conference in 2015, so I thought I would write a small story for the anthology too.
I will be expanding the story and republishing as a standalone, hopefully later this year.
What was the working title? During the writing phase I simply called it “Queermance.”
Where did the title of the book come from? The name came naturally once I finished the book. The main character in the book is a guy they call Moe. He’s bisexual and fancy-free. He doesn’t like strings on his relationships. And when he finds a brief liaison, he tells them that it has to casual, and if he goes off with someone else, no hard feelings, okay?
Until he meets Sam. He gives Sam the same conditions, but something has happened to Moe. He’s developed hard feelings for Sam. The name grew from there.
Besides, naming a gay romantic story “Hard Feelings” was just deliciously naughty.
What challenges did you face with writing this? The word count. It had to be under 10,000 words. Oh, come on. That was so hard for me!
Tell us about MC1 – where did the inspiration come for him? I wanted to set a book at this beautiful beach called Prevelly. It’s a world class surfing spot where there are international competitions. Moe grew from this. A boy who was raised in the region, learning to surf early in his life, living and working his parents’ business.
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? One thing that I’m passionate about is portraying real people. Not just perfect people. And not just white people.
In Perth we have a lot of Asian immigration. Little shops pop up that are owned and run by Asian families, and I love their dedication. Their entire families seem to be employed to run the business. Shopping and chatting with those who are from Asia, or are first born generation Australian is usual for me.
But I still get caught out. I still make racial assumptions. Last year I visited Broome which is in the north of Western Australia. The town was founded on the pearling industry, and the Chinese and Japanese cultures were some of the original people to build the town. Today it’s a lovely mix of Chinese, Japanese, Aboriginal and Caucasians. One of the original stores in town is a store called “Wing’s” and is your typical Asian corner store where you can find anything from Chinese noodles, to fishing gear, to pots and pans. I love Wing’s. I made my selections, walked up to the counter, and I greeted the Asian looking guy like I always do.
“G’day. How are you today?”
To my absolute shock, he replied, “Great, thanks. You?” without a single trace of the Asian accent I was expecting. He sounded typical Australian, and I now laugh at my assumption he would have an accent. I wanted Moe to experience the same chagrin that I did. For Sam is as Aussie as they come.
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? You are welcome to experience this book in its short 10,000 word form, and buy it in the Queermance anthology.
Or you can wait a little longer for me to expand it. I will release it on my own.
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? I had the wonderful Meg Bawden do me a cover! I met Meg in person at Queermance. Meg is a writer and cover artist. After getting to know her, I knew I had to ask her to do me a cover. And I love it!
Do you plan a follow up story? No. This is just a short story. I love Moe (and Stuart, who you will meet in the story), but I think their story is just this.
Name of book: Shawn’s Law
Date Published: 6 March 2015
Available in: ebook / print / audio
Other forms coming: Not at this moment
When did you start writing this book? February 2014
What gave you the inspiration for the story? You may’ve guessed it, but I’m one of these people who always looks at the funny side of things, or tries to put a good spin on it. Yes, I swing to the depths of despair and predict that the sky is falling, but it never lasts more than 30 minutes.
If you read the interview from last week about Safe in His Arms, you will find that I tried to “tone things down” when writing that one. It was hard. After finishing it, I really needed a pick-me-up. I’d read TJ Klune’s Tell Me It’s Real and wanted funny like that.
Then an evil, evil, wonderful thought hit me. I know how hysterical some people can get over the (so called deadly) wildlife in Australia, so I thought, “Why not show them? I wonder how many native animals I can have attack my hero before the end of the book?”
What was the working title? This one was always titled “Shawn’s Law.”
Where did the title of the book come from? The title is obviously a play on “Murphy’s Law.” I had an idea of a character where everything went wrong for him, so much so that they named a law after him.
I have a “thing” about the way that words look on the page. My character’s names and often the words I use in sentences are chosen for their sight value. I wanted something that “looked” good with the word “Law”. Some people asked me why I spelled Shawn like I did, but consider the words “Sean’s Law” and “Shaun’s Law” – they just don’t look as good.
What challenges did you face with writing this? There’s always the research. I had to look into the consequences of being bitten by snakes, ants, spiders, jellyfish, etc.
And as an author, I knew I was walking a thin line with the physical description of Shawn. I knew there would be readers out there who didn’t like the fact that Shawn wasn’t buff or good looking. I knew there would be those who disliked him because I described him as rounded and meaty, but I wanted to have someone real. It was a challenge to me to write him in a way that I hoped people would fall in love with him, warts and all, but be realistic about his appearance.
The hardest part of this book was the bleak outlook of Shawn’s mother. As a sufferer of Alzheimer’s she was never going to get better. I did a lot of research on the disease, and each zany thing Estelle did was backed up by a site that explained the results and progression of Alzheimer’s. That our parent is going to die is something that we may wish to shy away from, but it’s real life. I’ve faced it and lived through it. It’s not nice. But it happens.
Tell us about MC1 – where did the inspiration come for him? **laughs nervously** Oh, okay. The guy at my local pools. I don’t know his name, but I was watching my kids’ swimming lessons one day and he was on duty. He was short, rounded and curvy. But I could see from his attitude he wasn’t standing there all day apologising for his physical appearance. He was interacting with his workmates in a way that I could tell he was well liked and respected. He did his job without once losing the smile on his face. He just drew me. I wanted to capture that in Shawn.
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? The day after I saw the guy who I knew would be perfect to model Shawn on, I was driving along a suburban street and spotted Harley. I only saw him from the back, but he was walking his two dogs down the path (or rather they were walking him!) and I could see he had this long blond plait down his back. He was wearing a black shirt and jeans (which Harley would never wear!) but I looked at him and wondered about the hair.
From there the story of a promise to his father grew, and before I knew it Harley had emerged as Shawn’s perfect match.
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? I was speaking to a friend the other day and I pointed out the little idiosyncrasies an author has. Apart from the title of the book—Shawn’s Law—in which I deliberately spelled Shawn with an “aw”, you may’ve noticed Shawn and Harley’s names?
Shawn O’Hara and Harley Lawson.
To fit with the look of a name, I chose Lawson as Harley’s surname. It mimics the form of Shawn and contains the word Law. And to mirror that back, Shawn’s surname has “Har” in it to mimic Harley’s name.
I also snuck in a reference to another book. In the last chapters, Harley meets a male nurse at the hospital he calls “Steroidal Man.” You met him in Safe in His Arms. It’s Paul, Lon’s friend.
Paul’s story will be released in a couple of months. (The countdown is on!)
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? I had no illusions about the release of this book. It’s funny in a way that has been described as slap-stick. If that’s not your thing, I’m not offended.
But I have had an amazing response to the book. People who obviously share my sense of humour. Every time someone writes to me and tells me they nearly peed themselves laughing, or that they laughed out loud on the bus, I give them a mental thumbs up. Welcome to the club! You share my humour.
Do you plan a follow up story? Not at this moment. Shawn has a friend called Kris who briefly knocked on my inspiration nerves. I started his story. But I didn’t get very far with it. I have enough stories I want to write that will last me for years. Maybe I will bash away at Kris’s story every now and then, but for now, I don’t have any further plans for Shawn and Harley.
Name of book: Safe in His Arms
Date Published: 28th November 2014
Available in: ebook / print / audio
Other forms coming: Italian and Korean in 2016
When did you start writing this book? November 2013
What gave you the inspiration for the story? I set out to write a series of short stories. I was unsure how people would receive my books (and my humour) and thought that maybe I should “tone it down a bit.” (Remember this was before Loving Jay released). I thought a series of single chapter erotic stories would get my name seen.
So I wrote the first chapter of Safe in His Arms. The idea behind the series of short stories was sexual encounters between strangers, but with a little bit of caring and consideration behind the encounter. No HEA. Just brief encounters.
However, I wrote the first chapter and then became curious. Why was Casey in the shower room at that time of night? What was wrong? He was staring in the mirror intently, so something was up. What was Casey’s story?
I told myself that I would write one more chapter and explore the story from Casey’s POV, just to find out about him.
Some 70,000 later I realised I had a novel instead of a short story.
What was the working title? Encounters. Yep. It was supposed to be a brief encounter.
Where did the title of the book come from? I couldn’t think of a title. I must’ve thought of and discarded about 50 titles before this stuck.
What challenges did you face with writing this? You may notice that this is the first story I wrote in 3rd person, and the first story that has both POVs. I wasn’t comfortable in writing it this way and editing was a nightmare. I quickly went back to 1st person after this.
I also faced the challenge of Casey’s background. I wanted to make a broken character that was fighting to make it in life. So many of us suffer from depression or bad experiences. So many of us think we need to hide it and bottle it up. I wanted a character that had been broken and was attempting to put his life back together, but I didn’t want a fairytale where a psychologist would pat him on the head and say, “All fixed now.”
It doesn’t work like that in real life. In real life you have set backs and it will always affect you to some degree.
I had to do a lot of research into sexual trauma and counselling to write this book. Please don’t judge me on my web browsing history that month. I’m surprised I didn’t get a visit from some special task force the amount of times I had to google things like “rape.”
Tell us about MC1 – where did the inspiration come for him? Oh, Lon. **heart skips a beat** One of the things I’m passionate about is creating characters who are realistic and to portray the large spectrum of men who are gay. Not all men are into waxing and shaving, and not all men are attracted to hairless people. Body hair can be a huge turn on.
I wanted my man to be the image of dangerous. Someone with a gruff exterior. Someone who was putting up a front to keep people away.
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? Casey is the juxtaposition to Lon. I love contrasts. I love opposites attract. He’s the type of guy that you think is brainless, weak and needy – and yet you’d be wrong.
Casey’s past came as a surprise to me. I like my characters to be real, but I stopped and nearly scrubbed the WIP several times because I thought, “I can’t write about this!” But he kept pushing me. Casey’s my hero. He had something terrible happen to him, but he keeps facing the next day, and the next. He doesn’t try to pretend everything is normal. I just want to hug him and tell him I’m sorry, but that he’s someone I look up to.
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? I think it’s interesting that adoption once again crept into my storyline. Patrick from The Blinding Light was adopted, and in this story Lon is. Perhaps it’s because my family blends the adopted in with the step-siblings, the half-siblings and everything else along the way. I have a brother and sister who were adopted 10 years before I was born. I’ve grown up with the knowledge they are adopted, but it’s not a big deal.
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? There were a lot of comments about this story. Some people called for trigger warnings on the book. Some people slammed me for writing about a character who was sexually abused as a teen. I have no regrets about writing Casey. We shouldn’t have to only write about perfect characters. Characters with a past are equally important. And for those who think to avoid the story because it contains references that may set them off, perhaps a rethink. Casey’s past is in the past. Be joyed about the steps he’s making to reclaim his life from the darkness. He’s coping and living. He doesn’t dwell on the past.
For every email and message I received from someone upset that I wrote about the subject, I received two emails or messages from people thanking me for it. People who had been through it. People who were learning to cope with their new life. People who could relate. Thank you for reading, guys.
Do you plan a follow up story? Why, yes. Thank you for asking this question, Renae. My first new novel out in 2016 will be a spin-off of this story. In Safe in His Arms Lon has a friend who is a seeing a married man. People asked me about Paul and Andrew’s story – so I wrote it. I plan a third story in the series too, the story of Devon and Ash.
The next instalment of my interviews of myself is on my book, The Shearing Gun.
Name of book: The Shearing Gun
Date Published: 19th September 2014
Available in: ebook / print / audio
Other forms coming: Italian in 2016
When did you start writing this book? September 2013
What gave you the inspiration for the story? I conceived the idea for The Shearing Gun about two weeks after I received a contract for Loving Jay. I was SO excited. One of the things I love about reading is being taken to foreign countries. It’s rather like a holiday. I wanted to introduce readers to my country. I think I’d just finished reading a cowboy book, and I thought of doing a story set in the Outback, revolving around cattle mustering Aussie style. But I didn’t have the knowledge. I grew up around sheep.
Then I thought, “Why not sheep? Imagine what a gay shearer would be like?” And the idea was born. I enjoyed the thought of being unique and original – and being the only author to write about shearers.
(I’m not – but I thought it at the time).
What was the working title? This one was ALWAYS titled The Shearing Gun. It just fitted.
Where did the title of the book come from? **sigh** It comes from a very personal, very challenging story of mine. My nephew, Henry, was killed in a farm accident when he was 16 months old. His father and mother are both shearers, and his two older brothers are too.
When Henry was about 11 months old, his brother posted a photo on Facebook of Henry being a cheeky monkey. He titled the photo, “He’s going to be a shearing gun like his dad and brothers.”
I often look back on that photo and think about the could-have-beens. Would he have been a shearing gun if his life hadn’t been cut short? I named my main character “Hank” after my nephew, and imagine a wonderful, fulfilling, happy and successful life for my nephew if the world had just been a little different that day.
What challenges did you face with writing this? Making sheep romantic, but realistic. LOL.
Farming is tough. It’s hard, dirty, heart-aching, bone-breaking, tedious physical work. I wanted to portray the land and Hank’s life as realistic, but at the same time, I had to explain the land in a way the unfamiliar reader would understand.
Tell us about MC1 – where did the inspiration come for him? Hank’s shearing/farming side is a mixture of my father, my brother, and a healthy dose of imagination. His voice and accent is so clear in my head because he talks with the rhythms of my childhood memories. The larrikin, clown part is just Aussie. We never take anything seriously.
Hank has dreams, but they’re not the intellectual dreams that someone like Elliot has. Hank’s got his feet firmly on the ground, and his hands buried in the dirt. The fact that he’s good-looking (and a little bit up himself about this) just came from the first scene. What else could be more fun than a hunky country boy?
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? I liked the idea of a new guy in town who was completely out of his depths with the farming stuff. But he needed to be strong on his own. I needed him to have a reason to come to town and be willing to uproot himself. I liked the idea of a doctor. Someone valuable to the community, with specialist skills of his own, but nothing to do with farming or shearing.
I don’t think I modelled Elliot on anyone I know. He just grew as the story demanded.
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? Lilly the sheep was real.
She’s a sheep that we used to have when I was a teen. A lovely animal with a wonderful fleece, and she threw twins every year. For the first 2 days after her twins were born, she wouldn’t have milk for them. It happens in humans, and obviously in animals too. We observed her twins not being able to feed that first year she lambed, so we (my mother, sister and me) captured the three of them, penned them in the hay shed, and bottle fed the lambs until we could see that her milk had come in. (Those twins I named Stew and Casserole. They were boys. It was their destiny.)
The following year she again birthed twins (Flora and Fauna I called them) and we saw once again she didn’t have milk. The lambs would attempt to feed, but nothing was coming, so we brought her in, locked her in the hay shed, and bottle fed until we saw she had milk.
The third year she had twins (Romeo and Juliet), we awoke in the morning to find she’d lambed overnight, and she was standing outside the hay shed with them, waiting for us to come. A sheep doesn’t like being away from the flock (as it is too dangerous with predators), so for her to separate herself and the twins was amazing. I’ve always imagined her waiting and thinking, “Come on. My babies are hungry. Hurry up and feed them for me.”
The Melanian sheep in the story were also true. My mother has an obsession with coloured wool, so Dad bred her a small flock of sheep for hand spinning. Each sheep was named and their blood line kept. We would marvel at the patterns on them. We had one called Batman, because he had a band of brown across his eyes like a mask. One we called Stripey because she had stripes like a tiger. We tried to name them using themes from their names. One line of sheep were all named after comic strip characters, another line all had names of black singers.
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? I know people have been a little apprehensive about picking up this story. (A story about SHEEP?) But I can’t believe how people have embraced the book with joy and gusto. The fact that my readers adore this book is just magic to me.
Do you plan a follow up story? Yes. People asked me about a story for Mickey Ryan (the shearing gun who shook Hank’s hand for a little too long at the pub…) so my 2016 push is to write his story.
Okay, I'm a bad, bad author. I did something that is not allowed in the authoring world. I took a week off.
I did what? Yeah - me. I took a holiday with my family and spent a week near the beach. And subsequently forgot to post this last week. So we are now a week behind. I'm sorry.
But here is the third and next instalment in the interviews I've done of interviewing myself. Chronologically, the next release I had after The Blinding Light was a little short story in an anthology called A Taste of Honey.
Name of book: Bear Chasing
Date Published: 18th August 2014
Available in: ebook / print as a part of the A Taste of Honey anthology.
Other forms coming: Will probably rerelease as a standalone when rights have expired.
When did you start writing this book? April 2014
What gave you the inspiration for the story? I saw Dreamspinner put a call out for short stories to go into an anthology about bears (the gay bear type, not the furry, four-footed ones!) I loved the idea and made a mental note to buy the book once it was released. Some months later, I saw BG Thomas put out another plea for good, romantic stories.
At that stage I didn’t know BG – and of course he didn’t know me. Loving Jay hadn’t been published yet. No one knew my name. But there was something pulling me toward this anthology. So I set myself a challenge to write a bear story in under 12,000 words – for BG. I know that sounds silly, but I wrote this story for BG.
And my favourite pairing? Oh, yeah. The big bear and the skinny little bear chaser…
What was the working title? I originally called it “Bear Love,” but then changed it to Bear Chasing when I finished.
Where did the title of the book come from? I didn’t know much about gay bears before starting this story, so I began to research it. Information sites, dating sites, gay blogs – they are great sources of information. And the first thing that popped out at me was the term “bear chaser.” I realised that’s what I wanted my story to be about – the fact that people prefer bears over others. Some guys like bears. Some guys like being bears.
It was a natural progression to call it Bear Chasing.
What challenges did you face with writing this? Research, research, research. Always!
Then there was the fact that I’d never attempted a short story before. That was a challenge to wrap up the story in a HEA (or at least HFN) in less than 12,000 words.
Tell us about MC1 – where did the inspiration come for him? Okay. I confess. Gavin, Frank and Brett were based loosely around my neighbours. There is a bunch of guys who live together in the house across the road from me. I assume they’re straight. I pretend otherwise.
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? There is a guy I went to school with – Ashley. He was into computers and computer games before it was cool to be, was skinny and socially awkward, and he loved his sister to bits. I haven’t seen Ashley since we were 12, but Neil is what I assume Ashley turned out to be.
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? I fell in love with writing bears.
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? My friendship with BG Thomas has blossomed. One day, I will give him a hug in real life. One day.
Do you plan a follow up story? I love this story. But it’s not on my priority list. One day I will write the next chapter in their story. I really, really want to.
Sometimes things just need to be said.